Let’s take a quick side-trip to talk about what I.T. work really is. We can think of it in three parts: Creating your data, Accessing your data, and Protecting your data.
Creating Your Data
Creating your data involves getting the right software, learning how to use it, making sure everyone in the organization knows how to efficiently use the standard office software and the specialized software for their industry.
This is where most Small Businesses do well—they know they need Microsoft Office, an email client, the accounting software, and perhaps specialized software for their industry.
Employees are hired based on their existing skills with the software. Everyone could use more training on something, but in general, the creating of data is the easy part for the business.
Accessing Your Data
Accessing your data includes the internal network, storage of files, the server, and how your workstations are connected. It involves WiFi, using smartphones and tablets, VPNs and cloud storage, and the internet provider for the organization.
Getting to your data is the part of I.T. that is invisible to most companies; that is, when it’s working, they don’t see it, and when it’s not working, it’s a Very Big Deal.
The I.T. firm helps by making sure connectivity is there, by ensuring that
all of the parts are working together, and by solving connection problems quickly.
Protecting Your Data
Protecting your data means making sure backups are done right, stored correctly
and accessibly, and that the right data is being backed up. It also involves network security, firewalls, intrusion detection and preventing malware and viruses from infecting systems.
The I.T. firm is least visible but most important here. Backups are never in the forefront of a company owner’s mind, but they are the most critical thing that an I.T. firm can do for their customer. Likewise with network security.
Why is understanding this concept important?
The concept of creating, accessing and protecting the data is important because business owners typically have their priorities in exactly the reverse order. To a Small Business owner, the most important thing is running the business—creating products, billing for their services, and creating data. The Small Business owner usually doesn’t give a second thought to how well the backups are done (until it’s too late, of course).
A top tier I.T. firm will focus their efforts toward network security and protecting the data. This focus ensures that your Small Business is protected, and even saved from ruin in worst cases.
Is your I.T. firm taking care of this critically important part of I.T.? Are you absolutely, completely, 100% sure that your I.T. firm has network security and data preservation taken care of? How do you know? Have you asked them? Do you know the right questions to ask?
Data Creation, Access & Protection Worksheet
Is your business adequately protected in all areas of data creation, data access and data protection? Download the worksheet and see.